Reflections on 2016 (Part 1 of 4)

I’m going to re-cap my year, because I’ve been soooooo lazy about blogging.

January: The Sleepy Month

At first I thought it was jet lag, because I’d just returned from a trip to Thailand with my brother Ben. I slept during the nights and took three or four naps during the days. I didn’t go to a New Year’s Eve party because I was sleeping. The remainder of my vacation passed in a blur.

“Is jet lag supposed to last for two weeks?” I finally asked myself.

Winter term started. I had an Ethics of Rhetoric class pretty late, like, 5 pm or so, and I walked to it, all cold and sleepy, and arrived early. A bearded hippie-looking man was waiting by the door. I assumed he was taking the class too, and struck up a conversation.

More people arrived, including a number of folks I knew from previous classes. There aren’t a whole lot of us COMM majors. Then the previous class ended and we all walked in and the hippie man, it turned out, was our teacher.

He was hilarious. Very sarcastic. I sat with my friends. The whole class had a riveting discussion about ethics and it would have been quite interesting if I wasn’t so sleepy.

“I can’t live like this,” I thought. So I went online and dropped half my classes. Ethics of Rhetoric was an interesting class but the late hour was too much, and it had to go.

I was left with two classes, and during the two-hour break between them I’d go into the basement of the Memorial Union, eat my lunch, and take a nap. One Tuesday day I saw a group of students praying together in a circle of couches near me.

“Interesting,” I thought.

They finished up and left, except for one guy who stayed and played with his phone. I went over and talked to him. His name was Caleb, and he was with Cru, a Christian campus organization. They were meeting every day for 30 days to pray for campus.

“Cool,” I said. “Can I come too, on Thursday?”

“Sure,” he said. “Um, are you religious?”

That made me giggle inside. “Yes, I’m a Christian,” I said.

On Thursday I met up with Caleb and a couple other Cru people. We chatted a bit about some retreat they were all going to the next day, and then prayed together.

Later that day I got a text from Caleb. “Hey, sorry, I should have invited you along to the retreat! Do you want to come?”

“How much would it cost?” I asked.

“For you it would be free.”

So of course I went. I was tired of tired, sick, lonely days, and wanted something interesting in my life. And it was fun, but I felt very, very old among the 18 and 19-year-olds and their boundless energy and flirtation and giggles and excitement.

However, a few Cru staff from the University of Washington came along, and one girl, Micaela, was a total kindred spirit. I hung out with her for most of the weekend.

That was pretty much the only interesting thing I did in January.

February: Slow Improvement

The doctor thought I might have mono, but the tests came back negative. So I just kinda survived through February, gradually getting healthier and healthier, while also acquiring a sty in my eye that got worse and worse.

Let’s just say that Winter 2016 was not my finest hour.

Notice how my right eye is conveniently excluded from this picture

March: Rejuvenation, Adventures, and Class Confusion

By March I pretty much felt okay, so I guess my sleepiness and exhaustion was just a bug I picked up in Thailand. Huh.

Well, there’s nothing like a lack of health to remind me to enjoy health while it lasts. So in March I did ALL the adventures.

Since I only had two classes Winter term, and since one of them had a Monday final and one of them had a take-home final, I pretty much had two weeks of Spring Break. So for the first week I went to the Redwoods with a group of girls, and for the second week I went camping in Southern Oregon with my brother Ben.

Then it was back to the daily grind.


Getting classes for spring term was a complete mess. I had to beg teachers to let me into classes I needed, and even then I ended up in some pretty dubious ones.

Now, let me just say that up until that point I had never in my LIFE dropped a class for moral or religious reasons. I have assumed from the beginning of my college career that I might not agree with everything being taught, but it would be useful to understand what the general academic consensus was on that issue.

That March, however, I found myself in a very unfortunate class. Logic was tossed out the window in favor of political correctness. Two fundamentally opposing ideas were presented as both true. No one even acknowledged that they were opposing ideas, because doing so would delegitimize one or more popular social justice movements.

It drove me absolutely batty. I quietly dropped the class.


The next day I went to my film class. I slipped into the room, with its dark walls and theater-style seats, and sat down in the back.

“Oh, hi Emily,” said the person next to me.

It was the hippie teacher.

“Oh, hi,” I said.

“So, you just dropped out of my class last term. I hope I didn’t scare you off.”

“No, I was just really sick and had to drop half my classes.”

“Oh, I hope you’re feeling better now.”

“I am, thank you.”

It was time for class to start, so he walked to the front of the classroom and started teaching. “How many of you like zombies?” he asked.

Most people raised their hands. I didn’t.

“Eww, zombies? I hate zombies,” I said to the girl on the other side of me, who I kind-of knew. I think her name was Mindy.

“Um, I think this whole class is going to be about zombies,” she said.

“Wait, what?”


“In this class,” the hippie teacher was saying, “we will be exploring an array of zombie films spanning the last few decades.”

Nope. That’s it. I can stomach a lot of things for the sake of academics, but I cannot stomach anything horror related. I get nightmares, people. Insomnia first, then nightmares. Not worth it. So I left that class too.

“Huh, I’m gonna be, like, the girl that always leaves his classes,” I thought.

I signed up for a History of the Roman Empire class since I had a smidgen of elective credit left, and thankfully I got on the waitlist for a COMM class about social movements. Unfortunately, the teacher of the social movements class turned out to be the type that makes fun of her students in class. This made me scared to speak up. I told her this, once, and she said I was not to worry. She only made fun of those who could take it. So there was that.

However, I had a very interesting experience with my history teacher. After class, when I went up to tell him that I’d missed the first class and did I need any handouts, he looked at me and said, “are you from Harrisburg?”

“Oh wow, yeah,” I said. “How did you know?”

“I know some of the Mennonites there.”

I ran into him later and he told me that his wife had been Mennonite. Somehow I mentioned the history of persecution that Mennonites have faced. He replied by saying something in Christianese, I wish I could remember the exact phrase, something like “that’s the burden of the gospel.” So from that I knew that he was a believer also, because he spoke my native tongue.

That class was like a breath of fresh air for a Christian kid like me. I mean, the teacher taught history not religion, so it wasn’t a “Christian” class. But there was definitely an underlying Christian worldview which was kind fun, after wading through worldviews unlike my own for so long.

That was how March ended, with renewed health and the beautiful beginnings of a spring term.

My eye was still oozing and gross, though.

Stay tuned for the rest of the recaps, coming soon to a blog near you!

Read Part 2

Read Part 3

Read Part 4

6 responses to “Reflections on 2016 (Part 1 of 4)

  1. i love you and i enjoy your writing. The one eyed picture, by the way, is actually flattering. i thought you looked very good in it. Is it the colors that complement your coloring? Or the cold that brought out the flush in your cheeks? Dunno, but it’s a very lovely you in there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed immensely 🙂


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